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Top Lodging Picks: Thailand and Myanmar


Why spend the night in a non-descript hotel, when you could stay on a river boat or in a jungle eco-lodge? Check out our picks of unusual lodgings in Thailand and Myanmar.


River Kwai Village Hotel

The famous "Bridge on the River Kwai" is featured in the day tours run by this jungle resort hotel, which offers, in addition to conventional accommodations, rooms on rafts docked along the Kwai Noi River.

The villagers who live in the area of Kanchanaburi use the river as a main transportation channel, and many actually live aboard floating rafts. Each of the hotel’s "raftels" has its own in-room bathroom with shower, a private balcony and even a telephone.

Guests can take speedboat rides to a nearby cave and waterfall or enjoy elephant trekking and trips to pagodas on the Thai-Myanmar border. 1,300 Thai Baht (approximately $33) for double occupancy.

River Kwai Village Hotel
Tel: 011-662-251-7828
Fax: 011-662-255-2350


Imperial Boat House Hotel

Each two-story suite at this hotel on Thailand’s Ko Samui island has been crafted out of an authentic, restored teak rice barge. Now permanently moored on land, the 34 boat suites (avoid the hotel’s conventional wing of 182 hotel rooms), most of which are over 40 years old, have private baths, living rooms and balconies. Adjacent to the hotel’s tropical gardens and beach is a boat-shaped swimming pool and sailing, canoeing, snorkeling and windsurfing are available in the bay. 5,250 - 7,500 Thai Baht per night (depending on season).

Imperial Boat House
Samui, 83 Moo 5
Choeng Mon Beach
Ko Samui, Surat Thani 84320


Lisu Lodge

Recognized recently as one of nine finalists for Conservation International’s Ecotourism Excellence Award, Lisu Lodge fosters close interaction between visitors and the local villages in Northern Thailand’s mountains. The lodge’s six rooms serve as a base for soft adventure tours and treks that include riding elephants through the surrounding tropical jungle, mountain biking through local villages, or rafting the Mae Taeng River.

The lodge adapts the traditional hill tribe design to Western standards, adding windows (not common in village houses) to the thatched roof and bamboo wall structure as well as a private bathrooms for each room, complete with western-style flush toilet. Lisu Lodge’s operation helps support local handicrafts and encourage the production of new food crops. 2 day/1 night Lodge Adventure (including all meals, cultural tours, elephant ride, mountain bike, and river raft): 5,840 Thai Baht per person.

Lisu Lodge
Tel: 011-66-53-281789
Fax: 011-66-53-281788


The RV Pandaw

The Irawaddy Flotilla Company, once the largest privately-owned fleet in the world, renovated this 1940's-era, colonial style steamer which now takes passengers along the Ayeyarwady (Irawaddy) River, from Bagan to Mandalay, and on expedition cruises on the Chindwin River.

The Scottish-built vessel, with 16 teak and brass-appointed staterooms, has a distinctly shallow draft allowing the ship to reach areas generally not accessible by other ships or via land. The staterooms, though outfitted with air conditioning and private shower rooms, attempt to recreate the atmosphere of a pre-war river steamer.

Shore excursions visit out-of-the-way villages and provide the chance to see markets, hand weaving, cheroot making, local life and agriculture. One-night Mandalay to Bagan (including meals and shore excursions): $145 per person. Two-nights Bagan to Mandalay (including meals and shore excursions): $365 per person (single supplement $200)

The RV Pandaw
Tel: 011-95-1-541-944
Fax: 011-95-1-665-537

Golden Island Cottages

You’ll have to take a boat to get to your room at these bamboo cottages that rest on stilts in the waters of Myanmar’s Inle Lake. Thirty individual accommodations, each with a private balcony, afford close-up views of the area’s famous one-legged paddlers, fisherman who wrap a leg around the paddle for steering, leaving both hands free to operate their fishing nets.

Around the lake are picturesque villages and intriguing temples, including one famous for its jumping cats. The hotel’s restaurant, also atop stilts in the lake, serves local specialties of the area’s ethnic minorities. Single US$45, double US$60 per night including breakfast.

Golden Island Cottages
Tel: 011-95-81-23136
Fax: 011-95-81-23970



Samui Island in Thailand

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Tags: storySection: Lodgings
Location: Asia, Southeast Asia
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